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OPLIN 4cast #446: Blockchain

Posted in 4cast

blockchain logoYou have likely heard of Bitcoins, but may not have heard too much about blockchain, the technology that makes Bitcoins work. Blockchain is very difficult to explain in just a sentence or two. For a quick summary, try the first Ohio Web Library article cited at the end of this post, or if you want more information, the second article is pretty good. Essentially, blockchain replaces a centralized authority with distributed authority, and this idea is finding applications beyond just cryptocurrency. It has the potential to be used in ways that could impact libraries, such as identity verification, copyright verification, and document preservation.

  • Everledger is using blockchain to combat fraud, starting with diamonds (TechCrunch | Natasha Lomas)  “Interesting uses of blockchain technology outside the cryptocurrency space continue cropping up. Just this month Ascribe raised $2 million in seed funding for its ‘notary and timestamp for intellectual property and creative works’, which uses the blockchain to store and sign digital images — creating an immutable record of their existence and enabling copyright to be enforced on digital artworks. While back at Disrupt New York’s startup battlefield in May there was ShoCard, a digital identity startup which stores personal identity credentials on the blockchain.”
  • Blockchain technology: The key to secure online voting (Bitcoin Magazine | Matthew Daniel)  “Just as Bitcoin users make transactions by sending the digital currency to the recipient’s digital wallet, blockchain voting systems involve creating wallets for each candidate or option in an election. All voters are then allocated a digital ‘coin’ that represents one vote, which they can cast by sending their ‘coin’ to the wallet of their choice. As in a bitcoin transaction, the entire process is recorded in the blockchain public ledger, meaning that unlike most current elections, a voter can verify that his or her vote was actually counted.”
  • This man says he can save Reddit with the spirit of Bitcoin (Wired | Kevin Montgomery)  “By leveraging bitcoin’s technology, a new blockchain-based system could ensure that content cannot be retroactively removed. Instead, it would simply be up to operators of nodes, or endpoints which display data from the distributed database, to choose which information they wish to hide. If any person was upset with which information that an operator was suppressing, they could merely switch to using another competing node or start their own.”
  • Blockchain technology will transform the practice of law (Bloomberg BNA | Joe Dewey and Shawn Amuial)  “While this technology is only in its infancy, its application to business is developing at a rapid pace. With Goldman Sachs, Nasdaq and many other leading financial firms and companies investing hundreds of millions of dollars into blockchain technologies, one thing is clear — the lasting legacy of the blockchain is likely to be far greater than Bitcoin or any other single cryptocurrency.”

Articles from Ohio Web Library: